Minimum cartridge for 1000 yard elk

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Bob58, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Bob58

    Bob58 Member

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    Sorry if this has been asked before.

    What would you consider the minimum cartridge for elk at 1000 yards? I had a friend ask me this question, and I told him that it should probably be at least one of the .338 calibers. I told him I wouldn't even consider a .30 caliber rifle for elk.

    Has anyone taken elk at close to 1000 yards with a .30 caliber rifle? If so, what was your experience with the cartridge, and would you be willing to use it again?

    Thanks,

    Bob58
     
  2. devildoc

    devildoc Well-Known Member

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    I think most people would consider that bullet energy should be at least 1000ftlbs for that size animal, and that's even a bit light for a 500-700lb animal. You can certainly do that with the magnum 30's, and even some of the big magnum 7mm's. Of course, you have to have a very high BC bullet and pushing max velocities to get that kind of energy at that range. You just won't cut the mustard with factory loads at that range.
     

  3. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    Bob,
    First of all I have never taken an elk (or any big game animal @ 1K).
    I usually hunt and take elk most every year I hunt them and I have done it all with 6.5's, 7mm's and 30's.
    I am fully convinced one does not need at .338 to accomplish the task well.
    I believe there is a number of calibers that can work given the right set- up.
    I would start @ the .277 calibers and head upward.
    Probably a 6.5 would do the job, but I lean toward 7mm for my elk hunting and yes, under the right circumstances using one of Richard Grave's bullets I would take the shot with full expecation of killing it.
     
  4. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    One of many, many criteria that some people use in choosing a bullet for a big game animal is that it has 900-1000 pounds of energy at the point of impact. Many would argue those energy levels are low, and they would have a valid argument. An elk is a big animal. Energy, in and of itself, is not a valid deciding factor however. It would be possible to have that energy produced by a bullet whose construction would render it useless on an animal the size of a bull elk, at any range.

    You would need a cartridge/bullet combo that would be firing a bullet with proven field performance at that range on an animal the size of an elk. You have to know that the bullet is going to expand and perform properly at the distance at which you attempt to take the animal.

    Retained energy, sectional density, jacket construction, velocity etc. etc. should all be considered. When you have a bullet in whatever caliber you prefer that will give you reliable performance on elk at 1000 yards then you can be confident in taking that shot. This doesn't even take into consideration field and weather conditions and the size and condition of the elk in question. Big elk or small elk, has he been pushed and is he excited or completely relaxed? Shoulder shot or through the lungs.? Broadside or quartering? What works at 300-500 yards won't necessarily even come close to working properly and reliably at 1000 yards.

    I agree fully with "xphunter" in that .338 is not a requirement. I shoot a little 7mm AM that has right at 2000 pounds of energy at 1000 yards and with one of Richard's 200 grain WCs I would not hesitate to take a shot at a bull elk at 1000 yards if the conditions were right. It has proven deadly on elk out to just under 700 yards so far and the elk was dead before he hit the ground.;)

    I also agree fully with "xphunter" in that, given a cartridge that has the horsepower to propel a properly constructed bullet at a velocity that gives you the needed performance at 1000 yards that you could easily start with the .277s and work up. My buddy shoots a 270 AM and it would be fine for an elk under proper conditions.

    Also remember that even though you have chosen a bullet, in whatever caliber, that will perform reliably on an elk sized animal at 1000 yards.............you have to have a gun/pilot combination that will absolutely, under the current conditions, be able to place that first, cold bore shot, precisely where it needs to be on that bull elk to produce a killing shot. If the gun/pilot combo can't make the shot, then the shot absolutely should not be taken no matter if the bullet itself is up to the task or not.;)
     
  5. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

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    After reading this I find it rather humorous as the VAST majority of the people on the forum have no more Idea what it takes to put a killing shot into the vitals under field conditions at 1k than a man in the moon… To even suggest some of the smaller cartridges at 1k for an Elk is rather laughable not to mention being able to properly set up and judge the conditions required to put the bullet where it goes. This is a very tough task and if you miss the vitals with some of the rounds mentioned here you have sent one of America’s finest game animals off to a slow death which is a travesty in itself.

    When you can hit a 18 inch steel gong at 1K everytime with a cartridge that will still generate enough energy to properly do the job in the field-----then and only then try it in the field on a live anmial.

    My gong at the ranch I practice on is 1200yds (practice for my 1k IBS shooting) and is 12 inches across and let me tell you it is tough to do with a sporter---even with my Speedy built sporter rifles and my competition rest it is tough!!

    Just imagine 10k feet with a 20mph wind and like so many are using the proverbial “light weight 6.0 lb rifle” trying to make that shot..

    Get a 338 Lapua (I like the AI version) with a good brake and practice practice practice....
     
  6. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I've taken elk and I've seen elk taken. A large elk hit improperly can carry a LOT of lead. Hit perfectly, almost anything will kill an elk. Elk (especially large bulls) have big heavy bones NEAR the vitals. I really don't think you can be OVER gunned when you are talking large animals at long distance, check my signature.

    AJ
     
  7. Dead Beat

    Dead Beat Well-Known Member

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    AJ this a very good question i have a LSS in 300 RUM that im going to use for my first long range rig ive been wondering if the 300 is enough out to 1000 yards or so for Elk or should i use the action and get a 338 out of it

    JIM
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  8. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    Their are so many variables to killing any animal at 1000 yds that picking a minimum caliber to do so is silly , it comes down to pullet placement and bullet performance more than anything , shooting a big bull through the lungs with a 160gr Accubond out of a 7mm Rem mag will kill him a hell of alot faster than gut shooting him with a 50 BMG and a FMJ bullet!!

    a 800 lb bull calmly grazing at exactly 1000 lazer ranged yds , broad side with wind at less than 5mps , me setup on a good level gound with a nice comfortable shoot mat ? I'd take that shot with a 308 winchester because I know at that range under those conditions I can put a round through his lungs (12"-14") and stay off the shoulder.

    up the wind to 10-15 mph , the bull chasing cows or other bulls , having to shoot from an uncomfortable position or a rushed shot I woulden't take that shot with anything less than a big 338 like the Lapua or Edge.

    Saying that it takes X amout of energt to kill an elk is another silly statement , if I shoot a bull throught he ribs point blank with a 200gr Cor-Bon load out of my 45 acp its gonna be slow walking and soft music for that bull and thats less than 500 ftlbs of energy , but all 500 lbs will be sucked up by that bulls lungs and that round will make it through one lung and into the other , effectivly expanding the bullet and dumping all that energy , deflating them and with in miniutes he will pass out from lack of oxygen to the brain then die. Shoot that same bull with a 50 BMG and a AP round (12,000-15,000ftlbs !!!) at point blank through the gut and the bull will die yes but likely in many hrs or days.

    So lets say that you are a very seasoned shooter at long range and can dope the wind very well making it possible to keep all your shots in a 12" from a semi comfortable prone shooting position then I would say that a 300 win mag would be the minimum caliber , this round with a bullet made to expand yet hold together well like the 180-200gr Accubond will have enough energy to break a shoulder on entry and still make it to the lungs (and thats probably as far as it will go) just in case the bull turns just a little before the bullet gets their and you have to go through the shoulder. I don't think anything less than this would have enough power to break a shoulder and still get to the organs but thats my limited experiance shooting elk with a gun (killed one and witnessed three) the longest shot I personaly saw on an elk was at 630-640 ranged yds , the gun was a 30-06 Ackley shooting a 180gr Nosler partition just at 3000 fps , the bullet broke the should going in passed through both lungs and came to rest against the second to last rib on the off side , the bull walked maybe 40yds before piling up

    Now if I were gonna make a habit of hunting elk at 1000yds then I would look at having a realy big 338 built like the 338 Allen or 338 Snipe-tac that way you have enough power to go through him long ways if you have to.
     
  9. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Ok, just to bring up front, I have never shot an elk at 1000yrds. I have shot deer close to that but that is a different story. I have on the other hand been with people that have shot elk at an excess of a grand. Guess what, 10yrd run and dead elk. I have seen them taken at close to a grand with multiple 300rums and winnies along with one 30-378 and a 7-300weatherby. I dont know what the guy was shooting out of the 7-300weatherby for bullet but the 30's were all loaded with 180gr. bt's. 185gr. bergers, or the 200gr. accubond. If its not capable then my eyes have lied to me a great deal.

    does this meen that a person with a 300rum should run out and shoot at elk at 1000yrds because he hit a rock once, absolutely not but the cartridges have plenty of power for clean harvest's on elk.
     
  10. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Jim,

    800 yds is a whole different story than 1000yds. A 300Rum with good bullets is a great elk cartridge at that range. I'd personally rather have a 338, but would not feel under gunned with a 300Rum up to 800yds or so. I have seen bull elk taken with everything down to a 22-250! Heard of several taken with that until one day a perfect shot on the spine right behind the ear and the bull just turned and looked. A second shot an inch back from that spot broke his neck?? I had a neighbor when I was a boy that hunted with a 243 and killed everything in the country with it (including a rather large 5x5 bull elk). I saw a bull that had been hit 5 times by 4 different guys starting at 8am and finally killed by my neighbor with the 243 that afternoon. The other 4 slugs were from a 30-06 x 2, 300wm, 300H&H. That bull refused to slow down and ran all day with a broken front leg, a slug in the hip and a couple weak hits in the body until he was DRTed with the 243 in the side of the head.

    From my experience, bullet placement is everything. It's also a fact that bullet placement isn't always perfect, and the longer the shot, the more things can conspire to mess with your shot. The second thing I know for a fact, some elk when not hit perfectly just will not go down or stop. My dad shot a cow elk in the late hunt one year and we trailed her for 4 miles until we finally jumped her and killed her. The first shot had clipped the vein at the top of her heart, the entrance/exit holes had evidently plugged up and the heart just kept sucking the blood in and pumping it out! That shot was an inch from being a perfect heart shot; I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it. Maybe a larger caliber would have left a larger exit wound and she would have expired sooner? I've also seen many DRT's with all kinds of calibers. For my money, the bigger the better for elk at long range.

    AJ
     
  11. devildoc

    devildoc Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everybody here, I personally hunt elk with a .338winmag and even with it don't feel comfortable shooting at an elk past 600. On the other hand my dad has killed a whole boat load of elk out to 400 with his 30-06. When talking about killing an animal of that size at extended range a whole lot of factors are in play, the biggest of which is the nut-behind-the-butt. Will a big 30 do it at 1000? Sure just like a .22LR will do it at 50 with the right guy pullin' the trigger. It isn't ideal, but if you place the shot correctly, it'll get it done. Of course bullet design has alot to do with it, conditions must be good enough for the shooter to have a smaller margin of error than kill zone. But if we're talkin' "minimum" for elk at extended range I think a big 30 fits the bill. A big .338 is Ideal, and what most people educated on the subject would recommend, but a big 30 will do in a pinch. This is of course assuming that the shooter/gun combo is capable of hitting elk sized vitals at that range under field conditions.
     
  12. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    There have been many thoughtful statements written in this post.
    Another thing about making posts, is that we (me) sometimes fail to write everything we should becasue of either time, forgetfulness, or assumptions believing certain things should be a given.
    For me, anyway, I have pretty much set for myself that I would use a spotting shot at ranges at 700 or so yards. Shot presentation (broadside) or very slight quartering are a given for me. Typically, I hunt cows not bulls (even though I have taken several).
    My typical 2-3 shot group with no first shot @ 600 yards on paper to dope wind is in the 2.5-3.5 inch range shooting in filed conditions (prone with bi-pod). To date my vertical would be in the kill zone everytime. since I know there is a huge difference between 700 and 1k, hence the spotting shot for me.
    I believe in verifying drops with actual field shooting at the distances I intend to potentially shoot at.
    My longest shots on elk have all been with a 7mm primarily and out beyond 400 with a 30 cal.
    In a specialty handgun my old 284 win XP had the performance of a 7-08 rifle when using a 140 Partition (2750 fps). With it I have taken a number of elk and including 2 bulls at ranges just shy of 550 yards.
    in fact @ 540 yards my old 284 had an impact velocity of 1967 and energy was 1203.
    My current elk thumper is a 7mm Dakota XP shooting 200 grain Wildcat's at 2706. At 1k in the conditions where I typically hunt elk my impact velocity is 1915 fps and energy is 1629. BC with my rig is right at .800.
    When the aluminum tipped bullets come out I expect that to jump higher all things being equal.
    I would expect that when it comes to wind drift that I am right up there if not better with many using rifles using name brand standard bullets: Nosler, Sierra, hornady, Speer. Even with the use of VLD's I am still pleased.
    I am continuing to better myself at the discipline, as I feel one can't stop when it comes to bettering oneself in a area where this is much emotion and differing convictions.
    Probably more needs, to be said, but like I mentioned before time is of the essence:D
     
  13. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    +1 XPhunter

    Shot selection and experience certainly have a huge place in this discussion.

    AJ
     
  14. Strick9

    Strick9 Well-Known Member

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    264 win mag no problem ,, saw it with my own eyes 140 grn berger and i think 79 grns pwdr, but can not remember brand...